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Tennessee writer starts the ‘Todd Graham to UT’ rumor

As the 2012 college football season winds down, rumors of head coaching changes around the country become more plentiful.

One of the hottest (and longest-lasting) such rumors is that Derek Dooley’s days are numbered as the head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. Dooley is in his third season as the head coach in Knoxville, and the Vols have become an afterthought in college football, going 15-21 with him at the helm.

Dooley became the head coach after Lane Kiffin, currently the head man at USC, bolted after just one season in Knoxville. That practice, leaving a school after just one year, is known as “Kiffining” — at least in Knoxville, where the locals haven’t forgotten.

A poll on indicates most of the Tennessee fan base is convinced Dooley is gone, with over 83% of voters thinking the university has already made up their mind to relieve Dooley of his duties.

On the same website, an article by John Adams wonders if Tennessee would “Kiffin” another school — and take a coach who was early in his tenure in his current position. Adams ponders several first-year coaches, including current ASU coach Todd Graham, who already bolted from both Rice and Pittsburgh after one season prior to landing the Sun Devils job.

Writes Adams:

Arizona State coach Todd Graham doesn’t need a dream to change jobs after a year. He already has Kiffined two programs, first Rice in 2006 and then Pittsburgh in 2011.

After last season, he told Panthers players goodbye via email and rushed off to Arizona State. All he left behind was a nickname: “Mr. All Talk Then Walk.”

Actually, he’s not all talk. He was 7-6 at Rice, 36-17 at Tulsa, and is now 5-5 at Arizona State, which returned only eight starters and has had four consecutive losing seasons.

If the Vols’ coaching search turns desperate — and they’re not above Kiffining somebody — Graham could be their guy.

Even if Adams’ piece is one-hundred percent fiction, ASU fans knew this kind of talk was inevitable, considering a) the job that Graham has done instilling discipline into a program that lacked it for so long and b) his previous job-hopping track record.